We had a marathon today. An exciting event with so many people participating. Each had their goals and expectations. For some, the goal was to be the winner. For others — not to be the last at the finish. Some wanted to improve their last year results, or prove something to themselves and to others, or maybe just to have fun with their friends.
The main goal of my kids and me was to travel by train. That proved to be not an easy task because by the time the passengers at Port Chalmers were told to board the train, my wife, who was a half-marathon walker, was still not seen at the finish.
Because my children were playing in the playground, I had to keep an eye on them. On the other hand I wanted to take a picture of my wife finishing the marathon, so I kept running back and forth between those two places, thus having my own un-planned mini-marathon.
My excitement grew with every minute, as the departure time of the train was mercilessly approaching, and there was still no sign of my wife.
At some point I gave up my dreams of train, and started to think how we would go to Dunedin. There was a bunch of free buses but they were supposed to take only competitors. I then thought my wife would take the kids with her in the bus, and I would hitch-hike to Dunedin.
However, five minutes before departure, I suddenly noticed a familiar T-shirt among the marathoners. After many years of computer programming my eyes don’t see well, so I was not sure if it was she. But when she waved me, I rushed to turn on my camera, took her picture, and then ran as fast as I could to the playground.
“Come quickly! Mum is here! The train is leaving!” — I screamed, grabbed my kids, packed them to the push-chair, and ran to the station.
When we reached the train, its doors were already closed. I asked the conductor if we could still jump in. He opened the door, and told on the radio to wait for a minute. At that moment, despite being an IT guy and a scientist, I was happy that the train was still operated by humans rather than by computers.
My wife had to go and get her belongings which were stored in a bag with the organisers, so I thought that she would go by bus. But then my mobile rang.
— Which coach are you in?
— Jump into any coach! Do it fast, we are leaving! — I told, and leaned out the window, trying to see where she was. But all the doors were closed, there was no one outside, and the train started moving.
— I am already in the train — was the answer.
This is our family tradition: We manage to do everything at the very last moment, after all our hope is lost, all the doors are closed, or the deadline is nearly missed.